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Why Amazon sellers are banned (and what they’re NOT banned for)…

(Disclaimer: This article is based on assumptions I've made from my experience only. This is not legal advice. If you or someone you know has been suspended from Amazon.com's selling program(s), you/they should contact Amazon.com Seller Support - the contact info of which should be within the email you received announcing your suspension - here are some tips for dealing with them . If you need additional help, professional services are available from my trusted partner Scott at FeedbackRepair.net).

Every month or so I hear from a seller who gets suspended (temporarily or permanently) from Amazon for reasons that Amazon doesn't always clearly state to the suspended seller.

Generally, I think Amazon is 'doing the right thing' (good business reasons) when they suspend someone (I am sure there are exceptions to that rule).

Generally,  an Amazon seller risks getting temporarily or permanently suspended from selling on Amazon if he/she does one or more of the following:

> Opens more than one seller account under the same person's name/same business' name without Amazon's explicit permission (more on this later)

> Opens a seller account that is associated with a previously suspended Amazon seller account (by 'associated' I mean sharing the same business address and/or same Social Security/Tax ID # and/or checking account # and/or IP Address with the previously suspended seller).

> Knowingly sells counterfeit copies of products (e.g., DVDs)

> Has continuously poor buyer feedback scores/poor sales performance metrics

> Uploads copyrighted images (=pictures the seller didn't take him/herself) to an Amazon.com product page without permission from the image owner.

There is also some misinformation on why some sellers get suspended. I want to dispel some of that information based on the email Amazon seller support sent to a colleague of mine, which he shared with me. (My colleague asked Amazon Seller Support, via email, if his girlfriend could open a seller account sharing the same IP address (=Internet connection and sharing the same business (=home) address, and Amazon said "yes it's ok!" (click here  for Amazon's email to my colleague)).

Thus, from what I've learned/observed, approved Amazon sellers will not get suspended for:

> Having 2 or more seller accounts that share the same business/home address as long as the each seller has his/her own social security #/Tax ID# AND each seller has his/her own email address AND each seller has his/her own checking account # and credit card #. (In other words, 2 sellers can exist under the same 'roof' AS LONG AS they each have their own Social Security/Tax ID#, email address, credit card #, and checking account #.)

> Sharing the same computer/IP address/Internet connection  as long as each seller has his/her own social security #/Tax ID # AND each seller has his/her own email address AND each seller has his/her own checking account # and credit card #.

(In other words,  2 sellers can share the same computer and/or Internet Connection and/or IP address AS LONG AS they each have their own Social Security #, Tax ID#, email address, credit card #, and checking account #.)

On the flip side, if you need a 2nd account under your same name/same business name AND you have excellent seller performance metrics (they have to be nearly flawless, from what I've seen), you can request permission from Amazon to open a 2nd seller account from Amazon (view the "Operating multiple seller accounts" section at this link.)

You can view all of Amazon.com seller 'Prohibited Activities and Other Actions' here.

If you get suspended/banned, my suggestion is email Amazon Seller Support with a VERY BRIEF, POLITE email (with no emotional words or stern words) with an explanation, a sincere apology, and a request to have your account reinstated with a commitment to ensure your mistakes never happen again. I can't promise that will work, but I have witnessed some sellers stating it did work for them.

P.S. – See more recommendations herehere and here

P.P.S. – I have seen two ebooks being sold online  that claim to help banned Amazon sellers re-sign up for seller accounts. I DON’T recommend these books because they involve a lot of ‘masking’ techniques (basically trying to make your seller account look like it belongs to a completely different person).

(Disclaimer: This article is based on assumptions I've made from my experience only. This is not legal advice. If you or someone you know has been suspended from Amazon.com's selling program(s), you/they should contact Amazon.com Seller Support - the contact info of which should be within the email you received announcing your suspension - here are some tips for dealing with them . If you need additional help, professional services are available from my trusted partner Scott at FeedbackRepair.net).

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • George Nieves May 7, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Hi Jordan,
    Interesting post. I think the main thing that has concerned me about Amazon is that when they suspend someone, they can withhold the seller’s money for up to 90 days. I’ve also heard about people getting suspended for no reason, BUT I have to confess I have never met one of these people personally.

  • Clayton Hay May 11, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I was allowed to open a second seller account. I called seller support and talked with a rep which told me the same conditions as in your linked Amazon article. This has been almost 1.5 years ago and I’ve never had a problem.

    This is a very good post Jordan and one that is very important. I always remind myself that it’s Amazon’s ball park, it’s Amazon’s ball and bat, it’s Amazon’s uniforms and gloves and it’s Amazon’s playing rules. They can pack up and go home at any time and leave you standing in a open field.

    • Jordan Malik May 11, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Clayton, you’re right about Amazon calling all the shots. Even though they have a heavy hand when it comes to these restrictions/rules, it is all ‘legal’ and they’ve brought a lot of success to sellers like you and me. Great feedback as usual, Clayton, thank you.

  • larry August 27, 2013, 9:26 pm

    All good information, I think mostly the sellers I know even the worst sellers, never get banned. I know a guy who sold 10 items and only fulfilled 2 orders, and he is still a seller. They seem a little more lie ant than EBay, EBay is monsters. I have absolutely no use for EBay

  • curtis February 5, 2014, 12:13 am

    My products were banned from day one. They said deer antler velvet products are banned. Amazon advertises under deer antler velvet in Google and when you go to their site they sell several companies of deer antler velvet. Have been calling for 4 months to get an answer have even talk to corporate investor relations and had a gal working on it for a month and she could not get any answers. The people running the company can’t even get answers. Today I had a rep hang up on me because he said I was being sarcastic. True professional at amazon. Claim supervisor is going to call me about that and the gal I talked to said that was ridiculous and that they make there money from sellers and does not see why they can not treat there seller as good as the buyers and that she was tired of getting the brunt of the call from sellers and that the department that needed to be contacted did not have a phone so you have to email them and she could see where I emailed them and got no response. So even the employees see how bad they treat the sellers. What I find even funnier is you act like they are doing stuff to protect their customers. That is why they sell junk product over the real thing. If anything it looks like amazon is a good place to by junk products. At least in our industry. They don’t hire Americans they outsource most off their employees and that some how is good for the USA. They are pushing for taxing the internet but that is good for the consumer. So I told them I was going to charge back on them and they refunded 4 month of service that they did not provide but sure did not have a problem charging my card every month. So if they banned deer antler velvet then why do they advertise under deer antler velvet? If it is banned then why when I type that in the search box it brings up companies selling deer antler velvet? There customer service is appalling at best and to be frank ebay is 1000 time better then amazon. I will never buy anything off amazon again. Just like larry said he know sellers that are crooks and only fulfilled 2 of 8 orders they have not been banned so they don’t care.

  • sumit tomer October 8, 2014, 2:34 am

    I successfully doing everything on amazon.in. I have 4 stars and 80% positive feedbacks. Amazon suspended my account and said they will reinstate my account if I send my items to FBA. What is this?? Amazon is black mailing me In a way. I git more then 1500 orders every month. And it is impossible to satisfy all 1500 customers. Bcoz some time shipper delay a shipment or parcel lost or damaged in transit.so I got 1082 orders and 19 orders got problems. And amazon suspended me for those 19 orders. So my question is that where is credit for 1082-19=1063 orders.they satisfied the buyers.i am destroyed. I hired people and I paid a huge amount for getting a vat no.amazon destroyed me.

    • Jordan Malik October 8, 2014, 8:01 am

      To me, the fact that they’re offering to reinstate your account (if you send the items to their FBA warehouse) is excellent (I thought they would just a seller in this situation permanently). I would take them up on their offer.

  • Rod Eccles January 15, 2015, 3:18 am

    The one thing many people fail to remember si that they do not own Amazon. Yes Amazon is the 800lb gorilla in the room but they are far from the only game in town. If you don’t like their terms of service then don’t use them and take your account to another platform. You shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket anyway. If you are truly serious about earning online, you will have multiple channels. All the big players do. Even those with multiple Amazon accounts have additional marketing channels outside of Amazon. It’s not hard to do and there is lots of no and low cost software to help you run such a multi channel enterprise. If Amazon shuts you down, make your case for reinstatement in the most sincere way you can and then move on. Believe me, I have seen folks get banned years ago but they learned their lesson, moved on and grew their business to a point where Amazon “forgave” their past indiscretions. Sorry to sound blunt, but don’t whine, be professional and expand beyond Amazon. Besides if you owned a site similar to Amazon, would you put up with what you tried to put over on Amazon? If not then you know you screwed up. If so, then you should start that kind of site right away because there are plenty of folks who would jump at such a chance to give you a bad name. Think about it in a logical and business manor, then expand and move on.

    • Jordan Malik January 15, 2015, 11:15 am

      Hey Rodney, long time no speak. Hey overall I agree with you. Unfortunately just like everything else, there seems to be a rare exception of someone who is banned for either no valid reason at all or something that seems extremely petty on Amazon’s behalf. Again, it’s very rare but it does seem to happen.

  • Alan Barratt March 31, 2015, 7:53 pm

    I was wondering if you would know of someone I can talk to about an Amazon Seller breaking the Amazon Seller Rules. We have spoken to Amazon and sent them emails but they don’t seem to understand or care. We are a competitor and would like to sell our products but feel he has an unfair advantage because he is breaking the rules.

    Thank you, Alan Barratt

    • Jordan Malik March 31, 2015, 8:05 pm

      The only thing I can think of is to ask whomever is handling your email request to escalate it to a manager.

  • Didier Levy June 16, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Hey Jordan,
    I used to export some wedding cake toppers, 2 AZ claims for items not received when directly to my junk folder. I didn’t see them so I didn’t answer to those emails and my account got suspended then closed.
    I wrote to Amazon to explain them the situation but they denied me anyway.
    I really need to go back on Amazon, what could be my best option?
    Thank you,
    Didier

  • Claire Brown June 29, 2015, 9:15 am

    I really enjoy your very informative blog. Have you heard of any cases where online arbitragers have had their accounts banned? Specifically, what if I were to use my personal buyer’s account (without using Prime) to purchase an item on Amazon and then resell it through my seller’s account? Seems like a lot of people try to use separate accounts to be safe, but I’m not seeing where this is prohibited. How about opening a Business Account (under the business tied to the seller account) to make the purchases for resale? Thanks so much!

    • Jordan Malik June 29, 2015, 12:42 pm

      I haven’t heard of an Amazon seller getting banned from buying on Amazon to resell on Amazon, but if you do it a.) get a separate ‘buyer’s’ account,and 2.) recognize that if that buyer’s account has Amazon ‘Prime’, you can’t use Prime when buying products with the intentions of reselling (it’s against policy of Prime).

  • Mathew Lee August 18, 2015, 6:41 pm

    Hey Jordan, I have a similar situation and would like your advice. A friend and myself split from our parent company a few months ago, we originally both sold items online from our homes but have expanded and decided to get a warehouse together. My question is, everything about our business is separate except for the fact we share the same facility AND we are selling the same items. Do you think this will be a problem on amazon?

    • Jordan Malik August 18, 2015, 6:54 pm

      It should be ok (provided you are not selling the same items), but you should submit an inquiry with Amazon seller support, be brief and polite and explain the situation, and ask them ‘if it is permitted.’.

  • Max February 17, 2016, 3:19 pm

    Hi Jordan,

    Awesome post!!
    We are in Australia.
    Me and my friend who lives in another city are looking to start AZ FBA business in a partnership initially to test the waters. The plan is we open a joint account account and focus on a product line and obviously we will be accessing it from different PCs/IP addresses.
    In addition, we would also like to have our own personal account to focus on growing individual business.
    My question is – How can we make this work? I suppose we can ask AZ for permission but unlikely they will let us operate 2 accounts??

    • Jordan Malik February 17, 2016, 3:30 pm

      You should ask amazon seller support’s permission to open up a 2nd account, but they most likely won’t allow you to do that until you have a track record (plus excellent seller and customer services metrics) with a single account. There’s absolutely no reason for you to start a partnership, each of you should open up seller accounts on your own. You’re trying to do too much at once. Open a seller account each to start, and start slow.

  • Joe Nilsen February 18, 2016, 8:45 pm

    I have had this experience. Not only had Amazon shut down my girlfriend’s account who had signed in to my account before from her mobile device, but also my aunt’s account. They shut everything down.

  • Kent C March 8, 2016, 6:15 pm

    Know your risks before trusting an amazon seller support rep for facts about policy. Now Jordan is experienced and it probably ties in nicely with what he already knows. The e-mail looks persuasive but I can bet if you wrote the same question to 10 reps, you would get wildly different answers. Maybe this rep did his homework. However if they do shut you down good luck forwarding the e-mail to get reinstated. I’ve been selling for 8 years on Amazon, trusting reps with CRITICAL questions is akin to playing with fire. Not surprisingly many of these reps are not well versed on all the policy/legal aspects. Many long time sellers like Jordan know more about policy than a newly hired rep in Asia who has no selling experience.

    One example I had, wrote Seller support asking if it is ok to buy from Amazon and resell on Amazon (not using Prime to purchase and buying from a non-Prime account). “Praveen” responded that it is against Amazon policy to buy on Amazon and resell on Amazon, regardless. That is incorrect by the way.

  • Steve April 24, 2016, 9:17 pm

    So having two seperate accounts under the same address is ok, cold you use the same computer to manage those accounts?

    • Jordan Malik April 24, 2016, 9:55 pm

      Yes, I still advise you ask them for ‘approval’, so when they reply to you, you have a paper trail with their confirmation.

      • Steve April 25, 2016, 6:26 am

        Who exactly should you email?

  • Ben November 1, 2016, 3:10 pm

    what happens if you’ve received some bad feedback and you haven’t been banned but want to close that seller account and open a new one to start a fresh. is that OK?

    • Jordan Malik November 1, 2016, 10:23 pm

      If Amazon knows you that the old account is yours they may prohibit you from opening a 2nd one, even if you close the 1st one. I would work at getting your negative feedback removed on the old account first, try http://feedbackrepair.net

      • Ben November 2, 2016, 4:06 am

        Hmm, I think I might have to try and close account and open a new one anyway. It’ll be easy for Amazon to see it’s the same person though even though some of the things will be different.

        You’d have to start a new buying account too right? I’d have to close my current both buyer and seller account? I buy quite a few books too. So my name and address will stay the same obviously.

        I’ve only had about 3 or 4 bits of bad feedback recently (for immediately cancelling orders) but as I only had a small amount of feedback anyway those negative marks have had a big impact. The buyers aren’t going to be persuaded to remove their bad feedback. So I can’t see how I’d fix it. Starting afresh would be best. Thanks.

  • Sarah Heinberg January 28, 2017, 4:32 pm

    I was banned permanently by Amazon for a fraudulent disputes from a buyer. I had provided all evidence but Amazon still sided with them. Now I can’t appeal!

    Is it safe to use Auction Essistance to have a new Amazon account set up?

    • Jordan Malik January 28, 2017, 5:03 pm

      Hi I have never heard of Auction Essistance. My suggestion is get some professional help to see if your account can be reinstated, my go-to expert on that is Scott at Feedbackrepair.net, tell him I sent you.

  • Mark June 29, 2017, 9:24 am

    Hi Jordan,
    Great info! You seem very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of Amazon so I figure you’re the the perfect person to ask my question to. I have an Amazon buyers account that in the past shared the same address, ip, etc. as a sellers account that got banned (it wasn’t my account, rather a siblings, so social, bank info, etc is different than mine). I’m currently living at a different address, ip, etc. and I would like to start selling now. I would like to know if I should be concerned that they would connect my new sellers account to the banned sellers and ban my new sellers account as well. I hope my question is clear. Thanks for all the helpful information.

    • Jordan Malik June 29, 2017, 6:04 pm

      You should alert amazon seller support so you have a “paper trail”, tell them exactly what you are doing and ask them “Does Amazon Seller Support have any questions or concerns before I continue?”. That way you have a paper trail that you can show to amazon, should anyone raise an objection

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